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Nigerian Man Busted in International Scam Ring, Faces Decade in US Prison

Nigerian Man Busted in International Scam Ring, Faces Decade in US Prison.

A Nigerian citizen, Olugbenga Lawal, has been sentenced to 10 years and one month in a US prison after orchestrating a complex money laundering scheme tied to millions in internet fraud, the United States Justice Department said in a statement on its website on Monday.

The Nigerian was also ordered to pay over $1.46 million in restitution for his involvement in a conspiracy to launder funds obtained from internet fraud schemes.

Lawal, 33, who resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, collaborated directly with the leader of an international criminal network based in Nigeria, which specialises in defrauding individuals and businesses across the US through various internet-based fraud schemes, including romance scams and business email compromises (BEC).

The syndicate particularly targeted elderly victims who believed they were romantically involved with people they met online. Lawal’s role involved laundering millions of dollars obtained from these fraudulent activities.

During the period between January 2019 and June 2020, Lawal and his co-conspirators utilised multiple bank accounts to launder funds for the criminal organisation.

The Justice Department said deposits totaling over $3.6 million were traced to accounts Lawal controlled, distributed across seven different bank accounts under his name or his business entity, Luxe Logistics LLC, adding that he managed these accounts across at least five financial institutions.

Furthermore, Lawal facilitated the transfer of fraudulently obtained funds by converting the dollars deposited in his accounts into Nigerian currency accessible in Nigeria.

He conducted import/export transactions, involving car shipments to Nigeria, and engaged in currency exchange transactions, enabling the return of the fraud proceeds to Nigeria.

Lawal was convicted by a federal jury on August 10, 2023, for conspiring to commit money laundering.

Three other co-conspirators, Michael Hermann, Rita Assane, and Dwight Baines, previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy.

[via]

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